Artwork By: Brian Sarazin

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network Ribbon

For Indigenous people across Canada, tuberculosis (TB) is not a thing of the past. In One Vision, Many Paths, we uncover why that is – and what’s being done about it. Host Jen Quesnel speaks with some of the nation’s foremost Indigenous policy makers, nurses, researchers and community organizers on the front lines of the TB response. Over four episodes, guests highlight Indigenous-led solutions, best practices and the policy changes that are still needed to eliminate TB by 2030. Throughout each episode, the lived experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit breathe new life into the stories and legacy of TB in Canada, while providing hope for the future.

One Vision, Many Paths is recorded and produced on Treaty Six territory. It is brought to you by CAAN – Communities, Alliances & Networks. CAAN is a nonprofit organization that generates community-driven responses to HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and other sexually transmitted and blood borne infections through resources and support for Inuit, Métis and First Nations people. Funding for this podcast was made possible by ViiV Healthcare’s Community Education and Services Grant.

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Behind the Numbers: Why Does TB Still Exist Today?

What is tuberculosis still doing here in the 21st century? Although we no longer call it ‘consumption’, TB is not a disease of the past – especially for Indigenous peoples across Canada. Today, the rate of TB infections on First Nations is 40 times higher than that of Canadians living off-reserve. Go further north into Canada’s Arctic, and that rate skyrockets to an infection rate 300 times higher for Inuit Nunangat. In our first episode of One Vision, Many Paths, we look at the reasons for this.

Host Jen Quesnel sits down with Renée Masching, the Director of Research for CAAN, to discuss how social factors like poverty, crowded living conditions and food insecurity make it easy for TB to spread. Drawing from her decades of experience working in the HIV/AIDS movement, Masching shares what we have to learn from traditional ways of knowing and doing when addressing TB in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. Later on, Trevor Stratton, CAAN’s Indigenous Leadership Policy Manager, shares the four universal steps that are essential to treat and cure tuberculosis.

Living Memory: Stories from TB Survivors

From forced removals from their communities, and being sent to sanatoriums in a de-facto medical apartheid system, the legacy of TB treatment in Indigenous communities in Canada is a dark one. In this episode, Indigenous survivors share their stories of hurt – and healing – from tuberculosis.

We hear about the 1950s and 1960s, when Indigenous people infected with TB were evacuated hundreds of kilometres from their communities on ships and planes, with no information about where they were going, or how long they’d have to stay. Tracing the blood memory of TB through lived experiences, we hear from Ralph Olson, a two-spirit man living with HIV in Toronto; Ida Lemaigre, a Métis alderwoman advocating for TB education in her community; Dr. Ben Geboe, a social worker in New York; and Igah Sanguya, an Inuit health worker in Clyde River, Nunavut. Drawing from their own experiences with TB, they offer encouragement and advice for any patient who is newly diagnosed and undergoing treatment.

TB or not TB? What’s Happening in the Body

The good news about tuberculosis? It’s treatable and curable. In this episode, we learn how.Harvard Medical School research fellow Dr. Andrew Basham comes on the podcast to discuss the ins and outs of TB in the body, and some of the lingering mental and physical effects he’s documented in patients after their treatments.

We cover the difference between active and “sleeping” or latent TB, symptoms to look out for and what to do when you’re diagnosed. Basham explains how to avoid drug-resistant and multidrug resistant TB (hint: take your medications on time!) and his frustration with the inherent paternalism of the Direct Observational Therapy (DOT) method. We wrap things up with the ways western medicine can learn from Indigenous ways of knowing and doing, and the importance of speaking up – learning to advocate for yourself in a healthcare setting

The Way Forward: Ending TB by 2030

We’ve heard how tuberculosis affects the body. We know what TB treatment looks like. In this episode, we cover Indigenous-led solutions. We hear what’s working in communities right now, and what needs to happen to end TB by 2030.

Tina Campbell joins us to share her experience as a registered nurse and TB Advisor for the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) in Saskatchewan. As a Cree woman who’s spent most of her career in Nunavut, she has extensive experience with Inuit who have been diagnosed with TB and advocates for improvements in TB care. Throughout the interview we also hear from Dr. Ben Geboe and Igah Sanguya about the power of storytelling and lived experiences. At the end, Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, shares what the UN organization is doing to tackle tuberculosis on a global scale and provides hope for a forthcoming TB vaccine.

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network Ribbon